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Knowsley Better Together explores health and wellbeing issues affecting young people

by Laura Johnston

Knowsley Better Together was launched in July 2017 and aims to bring people and organisations closer together to achieve more for Knowsley and its residents.

This includes working with partners, organisations and the community to improve educational outcomes for children and young people as well as the health and wellbeing of residents, providing high-quality adult social care and improve access to jobs and a good choice of housing.

All the projects being delivered as part of Knowsley Better Together recognise that more positive benefits can be achieved by working together and pooling resources and skills.

As part of the council’s commitment to Knowsley Better Together, it has allocated £1m of funding which will be used in two ways. Firstly, for community groups to implement environmental improvements in their local area (£300,000) working alongside their local councillor.  Secondly, a further £700,000 has been allocated for community and social sector groups to deliver initiatives that will improve education, health and wellbeing, adult social care delivery or support the high-quality adult social care and improving access to jobs and a good choice of housing.

As part of the £700,000 social sector funding, more than 30 projects were recently successful is securing funding. One successful bid was from Listen Up, run by Comics Youth CIC based in Kirkby.  Over the next 12 months, 70 young people aged eight to 18 will be supported to design, create and publish a comic book (online and print) which explores their health and emotional wellbeing, whilst also improving literacy skills.  The finished product will then be distributed across the borough’s schools, organisations and wider community.

Through the project, young people will be mentored to develop their creative and literacy skills, along with developing their confidence.

Issues to be explored could include anxiety, aspirations, stress, depression, but this innovative project aims to explore these issues in an environmental where they feel they can express their feelings and know that they are being listened to.

Cllr Andy Moorhead, Leader of Knowsley Council said “This is a fantastic new project that has been developed by listening to young people through a range of engagement events. More than 72% of young people stated they would welcome the opportunity to express their health and wellbeing experiences through a comic with more than 86% expressing an interest in taking part in the project. Engaging with our young people, ensuring initiatives are targeted to their needs, whilst also delivering positive health and wellbeing outcomes, is a great example of how Knowsley Better Together can deliver more when we pool skills and resources.  I look forward to seeing this project develop over the coming months.”